dsmWeekly: December 28, 2021
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December 28, 2021  |  VIEW AS WEBPAGE
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Make this Scotcheroo Hot Cocoa for a "mug of Midwestern comfort," courtesy of Jacob Schroeder, owner of Crafted Food Services. Photo: Dera Burreson. Stylist: Sammy Mila


Writer: Karla Walsh

New Year's Eve is just three days away. Have you made your Friday evening plans yet to ring in 2022? If not, I have some bad news and some good news…

The bad news: Several local events as well as many local restaurants are fully booked unless you want to dine at 4 p.m.

The good news: You can steer clear of any crowds and cold weather, define your own dress code (PJs, please, slippers optional!) and likely save a good amount of dough by staying home and cooking a restaurant-inspired meal from scratch.

So with that in mind, I’ve pulled together some of the greatest hits from our Snagged the Recipe column, where we tap Des Moines-area food pros to share their secret sauce—plus exactly how to re-create one of their beloved dishes or drinks at home. In addition to your Friday night food and drink lineup, you’ll find ideas for Saturday morning brunch.

One 2022 resolution we can all agree on? To eat more dishes this delicious.

Drink: Crafted Food Services’ Scotcheroo Hot Cocoa. Start the night by brewing up a dessert-inspired drink that will warm your bones.

Entree: Mulberry Street Tavern’s Roast Chicken with Aji Amarillo Sauce and Grilled Romaine Salad. Inspired by Peruvian flavors, this juicy, flavorful chicken recipe comes complete with a side salad.

Dessert: Tami’s Tarts’ Chocolate Tart With Bourbon Caramel and Sea Salt. One of the beloved baker’s best-sellers, this decadent sweet can be made almost entirely ahead if you’d like to get a head start on Thursday.

Midnight Toast: Copenhagen Sparkling Tea or one of these three holiday-worthy sparkling wines.
Pop open a bottle of complex-tasting but alcohol-free (translation: hangover-proof) sparkling tea. Or opt for a classic cava or sparkling wine; all are available at local retailers.

New Year’s Day Brunch: Eatery A's Quiche Florentine with Creme’s Banana Bread Pudding. Wake up to a bright start. Both the egg tart and the banana bread-flavored cinnamon roll bread pudding can be made a day ahead and reheated once you’re ready to officially start your new year.

You may not even think of it as a color. But it's a great place to start your design.
Del "Saxman" Jones is a saxophonist and vocalist who will perform Jan. 16 as part of the Botanical Blues series.


This kind of blues will surely make you happy: The annual Botanical Blues concert series at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden kicks off Jan. 2 and runs through March 27. Check out the January lineup below and view the full series lineup online.

Jan. 2: The String Prophets. Acoustic duo Kathryn Severing Fox (violin) and Bob Pace (guitar) make up the String Prophets. In addition to singing, they are known for using humor and audience participation in their shows.  

Jan. 9: Major Blues and the Mugshots. This Des Moines-based blues band will perform acoustic versions of well-known blues standards.

Jan. 16: Del "Saxman" Jones. A member of the Iowa Blues Hall of Fame, this acclaimed saxophonist and vocalist will perform popular tunes from James Brown, Tina Turner and more.

Jan. 23: Heath Alan. A singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Des Moines, Alan was inducted into the Iowa Rock 'n Roll Music Association Hall of Fame when he was with Bob Dorr and the Blue Band. He's led his own band for a decade and is also a studio musician.

Jan. 30: Scott Eggleston. A blues guitarist and vocalist, Eggleston is a member of the Soul Searchers, whose music is inspired by the rockabilly of the 1950s and 1960s.
Michael Cavanaugh (right) was last in Des Moines in 2015; he'll perform hits from Elton John with the Des Moines Symphony on New Year's Eve. Photo courtesy of the Des Moines Symphony


Many New Year's Eve events around town have already filled up, but there are still options if you've yet to make plans.

Des Moines Symphony New Year’s Eve Pops:
Grammy- and Tony-nominated Broadway star Michael Cavanaugh will perform energetic renditions of Elton John's greatest hits, accompanied by the Des Moines Symphony. The show at the Des Moines Civic Center begins at 8 p.m. Find tickets online

Clyde’s Fine Diner’s New Year’s Eve Bash: This East Village restaurant is hosting a cocktail party with beer, wine and hors d'oeuvres. You can choose between two time slots, at 5 p.m. or 8 p.m. Tickets are $75 each and can be purchased online.

Comedy XPeriment: Ring in the new year laughing with this Des Moines-based improv troupe at Stoner Theater in the Des Moines Civic Center. The group relies on the audience to determine what they perform, from individual scenes to a short one-act play. Comedy XPeriment’s show is suitable for people age 10 or older. Find tickets to the 10 p.m. performance online.

Note: For the New Year's Eve Pops concert and Comedy XPeriment performance, Des Moines Performing Arts will require proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID test. Masks are also required while guests are not eating or drinking. Find more information on DMPA's health policies online
Fresh strawberries and citrus Chantilly cream top the Liège waffles at RC’s Diner. Photo: Duane Tinkey


You, our readers, have told us time and again that you turn to us for dining news. Indeed, of the 10 most-read online stories of 2021, seven are food-related:

1. Coming soon: The Breakfast Club. This restaurant opened in the East Village in Dumpling Darling’s old space in late January, serving breakfast cocktails and twists on classic dishes. Co-owner Josh Holderness told dsm he hoped the Breakfast Club would create a space and concept that appeals to a range of customers. "As you travel, you often see breakfast places that are packed on a Tuesday morning with various age groups, demographics—one side of the room having a business meeting and other groups casually having a great time," Holderness said.

2. Two restaurant leaders join forces for RC's Diner.
Two powerhouses in Des Moines dining, Joe Tripp of Harbinger and Simon Goheen of Simon's, combined their strengths and opened this Windsor Heights all-day diner last summer. The menu, with dishes such as a latke flight, nods to Tripp's Jewish roots. Cozy and intimate, the renovated space has tall booths accented by brightly colored Midwest-made paintings.

3. New all-day restaurant coming to downtown.
Tupelo Honey Cafe is planning to open in the Miesblock Building on Grand Avenue in February or March 2022. The North Carolina-based chain originally planned to come to Des Moines two years ago, but the pandemic delayed its arrival. Soon enough, Des Moines diners will have the chance to try dishes like Honey Dusted Fried Chicken and Bourbon Peppercorn Glazed Meatloaf. Visit their website to sign up to receive updates on the opening.
Find Storyhouse Bookpub at 505 E. Grand Ave., Suite 102, in Des Moines' East Village. Photo: Storyhouse Bookpub


As the holidays wind down and winter looms, it's a great time to settle in with a good book. Abigail Paxton, owner of Storyhouse Bookpub in the East Village, shared three of her favorites from this year and why they should be on your to-read list. "I loved these three that all revolve around the female identity," Paxton says.

"Girlhood" by Melissa Febos (Bloomsbury Publishing): "Let’s just say that after finishing one essay, I immediately turned the pages backward to reread it with a highlighter; after finishing another essay, I slammed the book shut and announced that my life has been forever changed," Paxton says. "Melissa Febos speaks what is most deeply felt about growing up as a woman fighting the invisible tide of a world made for men, and she does it using absorbing scenes from her own life twisted together with pop culture and interviews and mythology. … It's a luminous collection."

"Fault Lines" by Emily Itami (Custom House): "Exactly the lush interior novel about daily domestic triumphs and tragedies I always fall for," Paxton says. "The rich Tokyo setting is reason enough to get lost in this story, but Emily Itami’s voice rings witty and raw as her protagonist, a mother who stays home to care for her two children, sets off on a secret sexy love story that will have you thinking about authenticity and performance aspects of 'wife and mother' well after you finish reading."

"Fight Night" by Miriam Towes (Bloomsbury Publishing): "No one captures the particularity of women talking like Miriam Towesthe epistolary format centers on a preteen narrator as she cares for her elderly jokester of a grandmother and is mystified by her pregnant eccentric mother," Paxton says. "It’s an odd story, but I found myself savoring every page of these generations of women as they get into hilarious everyday high jinks and debates so much that I found myself stopping to read scenes and laugh aloud to whomever would listen."
For DK Imamu Akachi, body alignment is about the flow of energy and movement. Here, he’s captured at Barnum Factory proving that any space can unveil and unleash an inner spirit. Photo: Janae Gray


At dsm, we cover the most interesting and intriguing people in our community. Here are a few dreamers and doers we introduced you to in 2021 who captured our attention, imagination and heart for the creative, determined and positive way they're making a difference.

Billy Weathers: The hip-hop artist, activist and philanthropist is shaping the conversation on systemic racism by bringing together disparate voices and projecting a "fresh air of positivity."

Jathan Chicoine: As the program manager for Home Base Iowa, Chicoine brings his rich life experiences to his work with Iowa's veterans. His goal is to uplift common qualities of veteransa mission-focused mindset, risk calculation, innovationas he connects vets and transitioning service members with career opportunities.

DK Imamu Akachi: A performing artist, activist and educator who was named an inaugural Iowa Creative Incubator Fellow by Mainframe Studios, Akachi is empowering a new generation through "Writing History," a youth-led project.
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